Sure, everyone knows Valentine’s Day is for lovers. Although technically the holiday is in honor of St. Valentine, who was beaten with clubs and beheaded, but that’s neither here nor there. But it’s also for celebrating the love in your life: platonic, romantic and everything in between. And your kiddos are no exception (even if you want to behead them yourself sometimes). And while Valentine’s Day is synonymous with hearts and sweet treats, roses and grand gestures, your smallest valentines deserve some fun and lovin’ too.
There’s no shortage of cloyingly sweet heart-themed activities that will make you want to vomit red glitter and pom poms, but in case that’s not your style, we’ve rounded up the greatest Valentine’s Day treats, crafts, and DIYs that you and your kids can do together — that you’ll like as much as they will. From homemade healthy chocolate (yes that’s a thing) and some over-the-top Valentine’s pickle pinatas (again, yes, that’s a thing) to DIY chocolate slime in a heart box and Valentine funnel cake, these are incredible Valentine’s Day activities you’ll want to do February 14 and beyond. And in case you’re not exactly a Pinterest parent, we’ve even included an oh-shit-I-forgot-it-was-Valentine’s-Day breakfast that will take you as much time as it takes your toaster to…toast.
These activities are sure to be appreciated by every level of V-Day enthusiasts, and your kids will love that you did something together. Plus there’s something here for every age, from toddler to teen, so give your kiddo an extra squeeze and enjoy that funnel cake too,
Healthy Homemade Chocolate Bars
You can’t have Valentine’s Day without chocolate. Aside from being seriously beautiful, these healthy handmade chocolate bars from the sister dream team behind A Beautiful Mess have all the pros of chocolate without all the cons (having to poke your finger into the bottom of each chocolate in a heart-shaped box to find out what it is). These shockingly easy chocolate bars are completely customizable, so every bite is your absolute favorite. Plus, they’re infinitely healthier than their store-bought counterparts, so your kids can go ahead and have that extra piece without quite as epic of a sugar crash. The base of cocoa powder and virgin coconut oil is great; the cocoa has iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc, and the oil is an antioxidant that contains benefits for your skin and hair.
Your kids will love making these bars, and you will love eating them. I mean your kids. Your kids will love eating them. Check out A Beautiful Mess for the step by step instructions with pictures.
Heart Friendship Bracelets
If you have tweens or teens in the house, they might appreciate skipping the popsicle-stick heart crafts of yore and checking out these heart friendship bracelets. The tasseled bracelets are fun, funky, and festive without being too Valentine-centric; kids can wear these beauties until they fall off. Plus, they can make extras for their friends, and my guess is once they’ve gotten the hang of it, they’ll be occupied for long enough for you to sneak away and sob over their handprint Valentine’s crafts from preschool. Head over to The House That Lars Built for the how-to. Maybe they’ll be ok with mommy-and-me matching bracelets…or at least coordinating.
DIY Painted Heart Blocks
What’s great about these painted heart blocks for kids is their versatility. You can paint letters on them, numbers, leave them blank, or paint them with chalkboard paint so you can switch it up as your tots get older. They’ll love painting the blocks themselves, and can continue to use them long after the roses have died and all things pink and red have been put away. Leave it to the ladies of A Beautiful Mess to make a pastel, sweet but no too sweet activity for the littles.
Valentine’s Shrinky Dink Pins
Unlike most things that happened in the ’80s, these Shrinky Dink Valentine’s Day pins couldn’t be more chic. They’re a perfect activity to share with your kids, and are really customizable, not to mention downright adorable. Shrinky Dinks will mystify your little ones, and your older kids will still think watching them curl up and shrink in the oven is pretty damn cool. For Valentine’s Day they can let loose with the hearts, kisses, X’s and O’s, or they can make whatever the hell they want — like a miniature portrait of their math teacher to freak him out when they wear it to school. For example.
Love Bug Piñata
Yup, any holiday is an excuse for a piñata, and this DIY love bug piñata means your kids will have as much fun making it as they do beating the crap out of it. Well, almost as much fun. The dastardly geniuses behind The House That Lars Built are the culprits for this peak Valentine’s Day craft; check out their complete how-to (with shopping list!) over at The House That Lars Built.
Mini Dill Pickle Piñatas
A pickle piñata. I repeat, a pickle piñata! If large pink love bug pinatas aren’t your thing, or you don’t have the time or energy for the big guy, these mini dill pickle ones are tiny, stinking cute, and still a lot of fun to break open and reveal whatever sweet treat or tiny treasure is inside. Or you can do what Homemade Charlotte did and give a large mason jar to your valentine with two or three pickles inside. These are easy enough that kids of all ages can make them, and they’re hilarious enough that your kids will want to make them every year. Check out Handmade Charlotte for the step-by-step instructions and a Valentine your kiddos will really relish. Heh. Pickle puns.
If you wake up on February 14 and go, Holy shit, I completely forgot it’s Valentine’s Day, don’t panic. If you have waffles in your freezer and jam in your fridge, you’re in luck: Valentine’s waffles are in your future. If your second thought of the day is, I can’t freehand a heart, are you kidding me? Good news: That’s why cookie cutters were invented. Your kids will get a kick out of this breakfast and they can make their own, or make one for you, if they’re extra sweet (or looking to skip a quiz today).
Every kid loves slime, the bane of all parents existence, but this Valentine’s day chocolate slime is festive and one craft you won’t have to try to convince your kids to do with you. You can add embellishments like beads, sequins or glitter, and even make it scented with some essential oils if so inclined. If you’re the one who has to pick it out of the carpet, you might as well get some aromatherapy while you’re at it. You can also add different shades of brown paint to make different chocolate ‘flavors’, and then twist them together for an ombre creation. Your kids will adore it, and you’ll get major parenting props for initiating a slime date. The how-to is over at Handmade Charlotte.
Raspberry Mousse Meringue Hearts
Valentine’s Day invokes certain dreamy, floaty, romantic vibes, but as far as your kids are concerned, these raspberry mousse meringue hearts cover all three. These tiny meringues include a crunchy heart-shaped shell, fluffy pink raspberry mousse filling, and fresh red raspberries to top it all off. They may look fancy-shmancy, but they’re actually incredibly easy to make — and the perfect-sized dessert for little hands. Just look at those chubby fingers. Handmade Charlotte has the recipe, so head on over.
You won’t need to ask your kids more than once to make these Valentine’s confetti poppers from A Subtle Revelry that combine all things Valentine: confetti, glitter, pink and red hearts, love notes, and things exploding in your face. A party in a tube, these poppers are ridiculously easy to make, and your kids can get in on the action (the making, not just the exploding).
Go ahead, encourage them to hide by the front door with a fistful of poppers when your spouse comes home from work. See what happens. Blame A Subtle Revelry for this awesome tutorial.
Festive Funnel Cakes
Everyone needs more funnel cakes in their lives, so why not use the holiday of love as an excuse to whip up a batch. These Valentine’s funnel cakes will be your kids most requested treat for the next six to eight years, so you’d better familiarize yourself with the recipe. While they might need a little help with their spelling, (or not, Mommy spelled with five M’s is pretty cute) this is easy enough that anyone can do it — and everyone reaps the delicious benefits.
Twig & Copper Bracelets
Like I said, everyone loves a good Valentine’s pun. Most of them make you want to gag, but these stick and copper bracelets with the tag ‘I’m sticking with you’ are the exception. Fashionable, minimalist, natural and low-key gorgeous, these bracelets require a Valentine’s hike…or just a jaunt around your yard. The perfect Valentine’s crafts for older kids, or younger kids with your help, they’re just too pretty not to wear year-round. Check out The Merrythought for the instructions, but this easy DIY requires just a few supplies: sticks, copper pipe, tube cutters, and super glue. That’s it.
Put them together and you’ve got beautiful bracelets that are both masculine and feminine, perfect for all ages and everyone. Bonus: It will be so fun to brag that your kid made it for you (instead of, say, a clay ashtray, or weird bead necklace. Sorry, Mom).